Working in industry was great and this is where I learned a lot and was given some fortunate opportunities to develop and grow as a professional, as a leader, as a mentor and as a person. Stepping out from the corporate world and starting a business to work for myself came with a number of challenges...However, these challenges are probably not what you think.
When I worked for other companies, it was easy to identify myself with the role I had at the time.
Over the corporate journey, I have had the opportunity to:
- look after multi million dollar R&D budgets,
- build and develop high performing large teams,
- be responsible for multiple ( 15+) highly complex projects at anyone time,
- implementing projects delivering annual sales of > $150M,
- formulated successful business strategies to win,
- transformed and improved business processes to delver service excellence leveraging innovation, continuous improvement and LEAN in a non manufacturing environment.
When asked, what do you do Andrew? ...It was easy because I identified myself with my role or position and the company I worked for at the time. When asked, I might reply:
- " I am an engineer at Autoliv. We are the worldwide leader in Automotive Safety System and I design and develop life saving products"
- "I am the GM of Technical and Marketing at Autoliv. I am responsible to oversee all of the engineering activities work with our customers to deliver world class solutions"
- "I am the Engineering Director at Britax. We make the safe n sound child safety seats and I am responsible for the overall product development, engineering and innovation activities "
Whilst I had a lot of success in the corporate space and developed a good reputation I found it quite challenging when I stepped out to work for myself and in particular found it difficult to do the following:
1. Talk about myself in the context of what I can do and how I can help or add value. It was so easy when working for a company to talk about what the company did, how I fitted in and what I did.
2. Making new connections. This is related to the above point. I find it difficult, when meeting someone new to talk about myself without sounding like an absolute tool.
3. Finding the right fish pond. When offering a physical product, I think the sell is a lot easier than when you are selling a service like business improvement. Why, because when selling a product, there is already a marketplace (albeit competitive) for it, along with distribution channels and the customer is typically on the look out for it. Where does one go when trying to sell a business service?
The Wrap Up.
So why am I writing this…Well I believe in always looking for ways to improve and develop and I am participating in Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day